Community Articles

Bernadette’s Urgent & Inspiring Laudato Si’ Journey

Posted May 25, 2022

Photo by Thomas Bennie

The following blog is a guest post by Bernadette Crewe-Brown. It is her personal story of perseverance and hope that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, hearts and minds will change and urgent action to achieve full sustainability will arise in her native South Africa.

We hope this content will continue to inspire you throughout Laudato Si’ Week.

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My name is Bernadette. I am a Community and Sustainable Development Specialist, and I have been working with the Archdiocese of Cape Town for the past five years promoting Laudato Si’ through the Justice and Peace Commission. I am now contracted to train Diocese leaders for the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference and to assist and monitor their progress, including the annual Laudato Si’ Action Platform reporting.

My mission is to live out my life as God created me to, working consistently toward universal harmony and peace with the earth and each other, calling everyone to join me.

Once I feel I have successfully accomplished my ecological conversion journey toward living an integral ecological lifestyle, I believe I will have a sense of peace and harmony within myself as I will have completed all seven Laudato Si’ Goals

However, I am fully aware I will not be able to achieve integral ecology alone. Everything and everyone are interconnected and interdependent on each other and all creation. Only when the majority of us are on our own ecological conversion journey, working towards a transformation to living life with integral ecology as a norm, will we all be able to live life in harmony with Mother Earth, where everyone living now and in future generations will have healthy and harmonious longevity.

“The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a valuable tool for everyone, and I hope it will become the resource, guide, and plan everyone uses on their ecological conversion journey.” 

From the moment I read Laudato Si’ I have embraced its holistic yet diverse content to achieve ultimate harmony with the earth—our common home—and each other. Global warming and the evidence around the world of extreme weather patterns that have been analyzed to be above and beyond the normal weather patterns of our time is one of the main reasons for my personal, urgent action to achieve full sustainability as found in Laudato Si’. 

Greenhouse gas emissions causing extreme pollution and global warming, being ignored by the majority of mankind, is also a huge issue. Water is a finite precious resource that is not being looked after sustainably for the future. Too many people do not have reliable and safe access to fresh and clean water for drinking and living, which should be a basic human right. 

Melting glaciers and rising sea levels are also evidence of this important, necessary, and urgent transformation of all humanity. Biodiversity loss affects all complex socio-ecological systems, with cause-and-effect damage on many levels all over the world. 

“All the above has occurred through human behavior at the expense of the poorest of the poor.”

The difference between urgency and importance is severely overlooked. The urgent situations occurring all around us emotionally drive us into a frenetic activity that is often not effective. However, when one is working alone in emergency situations, there is no choice but to do what we can. 

Growing awareness of the required resources and processes that should be in place will hopefully grow the human resource at ground level. The call for a carefully designed plan to follow is essential to transform frenetic activity into a functional order. Adding an objective approach to the plan will also equip people to be able to oversee the situation and assess important steps to follow first, which then exposes each level of urgency and with sufficient people involved, the order can be maintained with balanced and productive outcomes.

“Developing relationships with like-minded people, locally and globally, who are on their own ecological conversion journey to integral ecology constantly renews my motivation and confidence in the work to spread the news.”

Over the last 7 years, I feel like an unheard voice crying in the wilderness. Yet, my own passion that grows with my knowledge of Laudato Si’ keeps me constant and strong on my own course towards integral ecology. 

I am like the old lady who keeps knocking on the door. The door does open now and then, and I do think slowly but surely the evidence in current extreme weather patterns is making people more aware of their need to start this journey.  

There are like-minded people in my environment but things are moving slowly. I have faith that we, in South Africa, are at a tipping point. Conversation is needed on all levels, hearing and listening to everyone with the guidance of the Holy Spirit is vital in moving forward.

Until then, I will look around, listen, and act as Jesus would. I will strive to see the world through the gaze of Jesus. I will put on His lens and be sensitive to all I see and hear. 

Change on all levels has to occur for a sustainable way of life, where we are all living in harmony, at peace with each other and the earth, now and for generations to come.